Now is the time to talk to Congress about the importance of child care.
As the country pushes through the pandemic and rebuilds, child care is sitting in the policy spotlight as a crucial resource that parents need to go back to work.
In addition, Wednesdays are #SolveChildCare Days for advocates, according to the First Five Years Fund, and there are easy quick ways to reach out to Congress that are listed below.
So far, child care has notable support.
As his Build Back Better agenda explains, President Joe Biden would ensure that:
• “no middle-class family pays more than 7 percent of their income for high-quality child care up to age 5”
• “working families most in need won’t pay anything—saving the average family $14,800 per year”
• universal preschool becomes a reality by “partnering with states to offer every parent access to high-quality preschool for 3- and 4- year-olds in the setting of their choice,” and
•the country would have “12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, to help improve the health of new mothers and reduce wage loss”
“Fully implementing this investment is projected to benefit five million families and save the average American family $13,000 per year.”
CBS News reports, “In all, the plan allocates roughly $450 billion to lower the cost of child care and provide two years of universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, according to the House Education and Labor Committee.”
Unfortunately, the Build Back Better bill that would accomplish all this – and much more – is stuck in Congress.
MSNBC news says, “a deal on Build Back Better has been held up in the Senate by conservative Senate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. While they’ve explained that they want the package to be smaller, they’ve declined to provide specifics about cuts despite constant pleas from Democratic leadership and progressives to come to the negotiating table.”
Child care needs these and other strategic federal investments.
Writing in Fortune, Mark Reilly, the vice president of Policy & Government Relations at Jumpstart for Young Children, says:
“…Congress should ensure that providers offer wages that are comparable to those for elementary educators with similar credentials and experience and, at a minimum, provide a living wage for all staff. The U.S. House Education & Labor Committee included these provisions in its Build Back Better Act legislation it recently approved. These provisions should be included in the early education legislation being finalized now. It is also crucial that Congress appropriates sufficient funding so that providers will be able to offer competitive compensation without having to resort to increasing their fees for families.”
Reilly also calls on lawmakers to “advance the Early Educator Loan Assistance proposal included in the Child Care is Infrastructure Act introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark.”
And, “It is also essential for Congress and the Administration to help current educators acquire additional credentials by funding innovative and flexible alternatives like evening programs, credits for previous field experience, Federal Work-Study, and free access to community college.”
There are numerous ways that you can reach out to Congress and emphasize the importance of child care.
You can use a tool on the website of NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Children) to email or call Congress.
Other tools include:
• a NAEYC report on state survey data that’s full of information you can share with legislators
• a #SolveChildCare NAEYC Twitter thread that you can retweet, and
• First Five Years Fund Facebook and Twitter posts you can share on your social media accounts
This Thursday, you can also virtually attend the 2021 National Prenatal-to-3 Research Policy Summit – and share what you learn with Congressional legislators.
As the First Five Years Fund explains, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the kind of investment that could truly create a better early learning system — one that works for working families and the educators they rely on.”
So please take action and reach out to Congress now!